Economists agree that American health care reform will falter unless health care spending is brought under control. Moreover, even people with good health insurance are paying a larger fraction of their health care bills these days, in the form of co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses. The editors of the Harvard Health Letter, in consultation with the doctors on its editorial board, propose 12 ways you can help curb health care spending, saving society—and perhaps yourself—some money. The recommendations, published in the March 2009 issue, include these:
Develop a good relationship with a primary care physician. A primary care doctor who knows you, your medical history, and your circumstances stands a better chance than a stranger does of making decisions and giving advice that will keep you healthy. He or she can take care of you in context.
Don't use the emergency department unless absolutely necessary. Call your doctor and try to get some advice over the phone or in person.
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